Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman

An auditor has found that Canadians are getting bad advice from the taxman, when they can get through

Canadians are all too often getting a busy signal or a message to hang up and try back later when they try to contact the taxman by telephone, says the federal auditor general’s latest report to Parliament.

And when they do get through to the Canada Revenue Agency call centre, the report says they are getting bad information more often than the agency has been willing to admit publicly.

The agency has boasted that 90 per cent of callers are able to connect when they reach out for service either through a telephone self-service centre or by speaking to a call centre agent.

But that doesn’t take into account the fact that, on average, a taxpayer has to call about four times in a week just to get through to the agency, or the fact that more than half of the calls are blocked outright due to volume, said auditor general Michael Ferguson.

“We found that the agency’s numbers didn’t account for the 29 million calls it blocked in a year — more than half of its total call volume,” Ferguson said.

“Those calls either get a busy signal, a message to visit the agency’s website, or a message to call back later.”

Overall, only 36 per cent of calls to the tax agency were able to connect, said the report.

“Based on our tests — and those done by others — we found that the Canada Revenue Agency gave taxpayers wrong answers to their questions almost 30 per cent of the time,” said Ferguson.

“This rate is significantly higher than the roughly six and a half per cent error rate estimated by the agency.”

In its written response to the report, the government said it agreed on the need to improve the accuracy of information provided to taxpayers.

To that end, the CRA said it will launch a new system early next year for training its call centre agents.

It also acknowledged that its current call centre technology is “outdated” and will be upgraded.

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Sometimes it’s okay to simply try

I feel like a success even though I failed at donating blood

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Blue bags are out for curbside recyling and blue bins are in

Use your own bin or the one the city gave you, but no more bags, please, except for shredding

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

Seven per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians and 2.3 per cent identify as vegans

B.C. swimmer halts journey across Strait of Juan de Fuca after hypothermia sets in

Victoria MS athlete Susan Simmons swam for eight-and-a-half hours in 9 C choppy waters

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Most Read